Books: Funny & True

COMFORT ME WITH APPLES (280 pp.)—Peter De Vries—Little, Brown ($3.50).

More than most heroes of this spring's novels, Chick Swallow deserves a wide hearing. His troubles may not be every man's, but every man will understand them. He is modest: "I think I can say my childhood was as unhappy as the next braggart's." He is reflective: "Man is not a donkey lured along by a carrot dangled in front of his nose, but a jet plane propelled by his exhaust." And the surest guarantee that his difficulties will induce immoderate laughter is the fact...